Based on an architect’s history, golfers typically know what to expect from a course when they arrive at the first tee, but every so often, an architect will go rogue, creating a layout that defies conventional wisdom. If you enjoy playing a design that isn’t afraid to bend the rules, here are five outside of the box layouts that need to be atop your 2024 Myrtle Beach golf wish list.
– Located in Pawleys Island, architect Thomas Walker inherited the property that used to be home to Sea Gull Golf Club, razed it, and in its place arose Founders Club. Walker crafted a design that is unlike any other in the area. Founders Club features elevated fairways that are surrounded by waste bunkers and virtually devoid of cart paths. The visuals are memorable and the layout distinct. Walker and his crew took a chance at Founders Club, and it worked. (Founders Club top photo)
– You may not immediately associate Wild Wing’s Avocet Course with being a boundary stretching layout but take a closer look. Jeff Brauer and three-time major champion Larry Nelson, who co-designed the course, took chances. From the drivable 14th with three landing areas, to the double green holes six and 17 share, and the dual fairways on No. 9, Avocet is full of pleasant surprises.
– Head to Man O’War to play a Dan Maples design built around a 107-acre lake. Water comes into play on every hole, there is no rough, the course features back-to-back island greens, and No. 9 is an island hole. How is that for out-of-the-box? While water is always in sight, don’t fret as there is ample room. In case you are wondering yes, Man O’War is fun to play.
– The Wizard, Man’ O War’s sister course, also earns a spot on our list. The bulk of your challenge at the Wizard comes on a links style design featuring generous fairways, large greens and mounding covered with native grasses. Given the nature of the links inspired design, it’s opening and closing holes that makes the Wizard different. Holes 1, 16, 17 and 18 play around the same lake Man O’War does, meaning four of the 18 holes bear no more resemblance to a links style design than my swing does to Rory McIlroy’s. While the change can be jarring, it absolutely works.
– Last but certainly not least, World Tour Golf Links certainly colors outside the lines, as all 18 holes are replicas of some of the game’s most famous challenges. From St. Andrews to Augusta National and nearly everything in between, World Tour provides an experience no other course in Myrtle Beach can match.
If you are looking to enjoy a non-traditional golf course experience, take a long look at Founders Club, Man O’War, Avocet, The Wizard or World Tour.